Brazil’s manufacturing activity declined the most in six-and-a-half years during October as new orders fell at a faster rate, prompting firms to shed jobs.

The Brazil Purchasing Managers’ Index for the factory sector fell to a 79-month low of 44.1 from 47 in September, survey data from Markit Economics showed Tuesday. A PMI score below 50 suggests contraction in activity.

Output declined for the ninth straight month, which was the longest sequence of continuous reduction since the global financial crisis. The rate of contraction was the sharpest since March 2009.

Producers blamed the latest slump on further decline in order book volumes and a fragile economic situation.

New orders also dropped at the fastest pace in 79 months hurt by weaker domestic demand as foreign orders increased marginally.

For the seventh month running, all three monitored sub-sectors recorded declines in both output and total new orders during October with the worst performer being intermediate goods.

Jobs were also reduced in the fastest rate in six-and-a-half years with declines in all sub-sectors.

The weaker real added to manufacturers’ cost burdens as prices for imported inputs rose again. Cost inflation accelerated and remained above the long-run series average. Consequently, factory-gate prices were raised though at the weakest pace since July.

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